Zajonc (1965) proposed a drive theory of social facilitation.
He suggested that spectators create an innate response in performers, known as ‘arousal’, which prepares a person to respond.The presence of others increases arousal, which increases a person’s tendency to perform dominant responses.Dominant responses refer to the behaviour that we are most likely to perform in a given situation.If a person is highly skilled, his or her dominant response will be to perform well, and this accurate behaviour will be facilitated by spectators.When someone is learning a new skill, the dominant response will be to make errors, and his or her performance will be inhibited by spectators.In an easy or well practised task dominant responses tend to be correct so social facilitation occurs.Performance is best when arousal is moderate.Arousal being too high or too low can produce more errors.
Evaluation apprehension theory
Cottrell argued that it is not the presence of others that causes arousal but the apprehension of being evaluated by others.
When we are around others we are concerned that they would be judging our performance.
The effect of this evaluation apprehension on the performance of a easy or learned task is to enhance it.
The effect of this evaluation apprehension on the performance of a difficult or new task is to make the performance worse as it increases arousal to a leavel that is to high.
The distraction conflict theory
The presence of others leads to distraction and reduces the amount of attention paid on the task.This conflict increases arousal making a dominant responce more likely.This improves the performance of a simple or dominant tasks and impairs the performance of complex or non-dominant tasks.
This theory can be applied to any distracting stimulus,experiments shows that any form of sitraction for example noice can cause social facilitation or social inhibition.